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ROBinGa
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20 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We have a 2004 Highlander 2.4 liter with 116,000 that we bought and have put about 5,000 mikes on so far. i have been doing several maintenance items on it over the Christmas break and one of them was change the power steering fluid. I noticed a bump or catch as soon as you turn the wheel either L or R from a stop. I looked at the fluid in reservoir and it was very thin and black. I researched and see where Dexron III is the suggested replacement so I decided to change it. I found an excellent video on you tube showing how to use turkey baster and 3/8 ID vinyl tubing to suction the fluid in the reservoir enough to not make a mess when disconnecting the small return hose.

I bought a 5 foot section of tube and a 3/8 brass coupler. I cut a short 8-10 inch piece to go over the reservoir connector where return line came off. That short piece is angled upwards to serve as a quick way to keep fluid in reservoir from not spilling out as it will rise up that tube but not spill out as you keep filling and flushing fluid through reservoir. You could cap it off with something but this is quick and easy. The longer piece of tubing gets connected with the hose clamp to the brass coupler to extend the return line into a catch pan or bucket as you flush. There was lots of scale and dark film inside my fluid reservoir which most was sucked out with turkey baster. In hindsight I wish I would have used a qtip or something to rub more scale/film loose and suctioned as much as possible out of the reservoir.

Raise the front wheels on jack stands. Then once you connect the extension to your disconnected return line and rig up the other short hose to keep reservoir fluid from spilling you can start adding Dexron III to the reservoir. Have a helper steadily turn the steering wheel fully to the left and right while the engine is off but key in on position. Keep adding fluid as level in reservoir goes down and your old fluid gets pumped into the collection pan. Eventually the fluid will come out of the hose as bright red fresh looking fluid. I used almost all of 2 quarts of Mercon III to do this change and bring the level in reservoir up to proper level. After getting the return lines connected back properly, continue to work the steering wheel L and R with engine running and cap loosely on reservoir to get all air out. Do this for a couple minutes until fluid stops bubbling.

The steering now feels so much better and that catch when first starting to change direction is totally gone. I also did place a couple drops of light synthetic gun oil on the shaft of the intermediate steering shaft where the splines start. The steering bump went away after I flushed the fluid and I only did the oil on intermediate shaft as preventative measure as I had planned to disconnect it and lube the splines per the TSB, but don't think I need to do that now.

I highly recommend you change the power steering fluid if yours is original. I cannot believe how much more smooth and positive the steering wheel feels.
 

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ROBinGa
Joined
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20 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
You got me but all I know is even when doing the steering wheel turns to purge the fluid through she said it was feeling much smoother. It was night and day difference once the new fluid was in the system
 
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